UTEP Leads US-EU Workshop on 2D Layered Materials and Devices
July 29, 2015
UTEP Staff and Students had an opportunity to interact with leading researchers including Nobel Laureate, Sir Konstantin Novoselov, Manchester University, UK (4th from left). Others from UTEP left-to-right: Dr. Dalal Fadil, Postdoctoral Scholar, ECE; Alberto Delgado, graduate student-MASE, Dr. Sandra Covarrubias, Assistant Director for Research, Office of the Dean; Dr. Anupama Kaul, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation, College of Engineering; Monica Michel, graduate student-MASE; Gustavo Lara, graduate student-ECE.
On April 22-24, 2015, The University of Texas at El Paso College of Engineering led an international workshop on two-dimensional (2D) layered materials and devices in Arlington, Virginia.
Professor Anupama B. Kaul, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation and AT&T Distinguished Professor from UTEP's College of Engineering, served as the U.S. Chair of the workshop, which was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Other support for this workshop came from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), The STARNet Program coordinated by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and UTEP's College of Engineering.
"We are simply delighted to have Dr. Kaul on our staff, and we have high hopes that she will lead the college to new heights of engineering research and development," said Richard Schoephoerster, Ph.D., College of Engineering Dean, "The fact that she was asked to lead such an important event along with other world leaders is a testament to her influence and accomplishments."
"Although UTEP was the key organizer of this event, the organizing committee had a global reach, comprising of leading researchers from Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Lehigh University, the EU Commission and the NSF," Kaul said.
"We were also very fortunate to have international dignitaries including Nobel Laureate, Sir Konstantin Novoselov, who helped us open the workshop with his keynote talk," commented Professor Kaul. Three graduate students and a postdoctoral fellow from UTEP, shown in their interaction with the Nobel Laureate (in the image above), helped with logistics and presented their research during the workshop's poster session.
"Having our students present their work at such international events, allows them to gain new perspectives and trains them to think outside the box through interactions with researchers from diverse disciplines," noted Professor Kaul.
"My participation in the US-EU Workshop on 2D Layered Materials and Devices was an exceptional experience that complements my personal, professional, and academic development," said Gustavo Lara, a UTEP graduate student who participated in the workshop. "I had the opportunity to take part in managing the on-site logistics of the event, attend talks in areas of my research interests, and networking with internationally recognized researchers from different areas in this novel and exciting topic."
The primary objective of this workshop was to provide a forum for leading researchers from the US and Europe to discuss research progress on 2D layered materials, such as graphene, and address common challenges to promote future collaborations in this very rich and exciting field.
"Having just moved from the University of Rouen in France to UTEP, I think the US-EU workshop was a great opportunity for US and EU researchers to gather together and think about new collaborations in this interesting field of 2D layered materials and their applications," said Dr. Dalal Fadil, a postdoctoral scholar who joined the Nanomaterials and Devices Lab led by Dr. Kaul earlier this spring.
Graphene has popularly been coined the "miracle material" given its amazing properties. It is a membrane of single carbon atoms that are held together by strong forces, and is surprisingly stronger than steel and yet so much lighter.
The decade long research on graphene that began in 2004 when a single layer of carbon atoms was mechanically "peeled-off" from bulk graphite – the material commonly found in our lead pencils – using scotch tape, has afforded researchers the opportunity to look at non-carbon based 2D materials.
In 2013, the European Union announced the Graphene Flagship Mission, which is an investment on the order of 1 Billion Euros from the EU Commission, to help promote fundamental research and applications arising from 2D layered materials over the next 10 years.
One industrial sector that is keenly watching the progress in this area of research is the trillion-dollar electronics industry, which is hinged on the material Silicon. Silicon is earth-abundant and comes from sand found on our beaches. There is now an aggressive push to look at materials "beyond Silicon" that can help the electronics industry overcome a brick wall it will soon hit by 2020, when our computers and cell phones can no longer work any faster, and are not as small or lightweight as their predecessors.
The end result of these discussions will be a public website that includes speaker presentations available to the public, as well as a final report that will serve as a guiding document to the NSF and other government agencies.
To read more about the highlights of the workshop, visit US-EU2DWorkshop.
About UTEP's College of Engineering: The College of Engineering is a national leader in engineering education. The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is the second oldest academic institution of The University of Texas System. Washington Monthly magazine ranked UTEP among the Top 10 of all universities in the nation for the second year and #1 in social mobility for a third consecutive year in its 2014 annual College Guide and Rankings. The magazine's rankings were based on a combination of social mobility, research production, commitment to service and cost-effectiveness of degree completion. For more information visit http://engineering.utep.edu/ .